By: Annabelle Clarke
May 11, 2021
Painkillers work by enhancing activities of receptors in the brain and they provide targeted relief to pain sources by producing more endorphins. They block messages received in the brain by the source of pain and therefore pain appears to be absent. This therapeutic can be used by individuals of all ages, however, doses will differ. It is available both on prescription and over the counter.
Prescription medication usually consists of the stronger analgesics that are classified as controlled substances, and over the counter medication are usually those that are used for short-term pain such as mild to moderate headaches and injuries. Just like other medications, using this therapeutic means that there may be side effects experienced. Generally, stronger types of this therapeutic increase the risk for more severe painkiller side effects, if used incorrectly.
The most common painkiller side effects include nausea, fatigue, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, and dry mouth. These effects usually last during the initial few doses and usually pass after a few days when your body gets used to the medication. Drinking enough water when administering the medication is recommended to reduce dryness in the mouth.
Sometimes laxative and anti-nausea medication may be co-administered to reduce side effects. The sedative side effects may, however, increase if the medication interacts with anti-depressants, sedative antihistamines, anti-anxiety and other sedative medication. If excessive amounts of this therapeutic are taken, hallucinations, confusion, low blood pressure, excessive drowsiness and slowed breathing may occur.
Painkillers and Alcohol Interaction
The interaction between alcohol and painkillers has been studied widely over the years and has found that there are interactions that are safe and not detrimental to health.
Alcohol is usually safe to interact with medications that are not very strong and have few side effects. Stronger medication, like sedative-hypnotics, may increase painkiller side effects when alcohol is consumed. The two substances are advised not to be taken together; however, alcohol may be consumed hours after or before the administration of the therapeutic.
The quantity of consumption of alcohol is an important factor when measuring the likelihood of adverse effects. Even the best painkillers are subject to adverse effects when interacted with excess amounts of alcohol. If excessive amounts are used together with strong analgesics, the high risk for over-sedation is increased. Alcohol is known to produce confusion, visual impairment, sleepiness, and psychomotor abilities may be compromised. These side effects are best to be avoided by not using these substances concurrently.
Addiction is quiet a common adverse effect in most sedative-hypnotics and this may be because of the desirable effects the medication produces. According to Farisco et al. (2018), studies in the USA over the years have shown a significant increase in the number of opioid addictions.
In 2014 there were about 2.5 million people were affected by addiction. In 2016, 91.8 million people have reported to use prescription analgesics, while 11.8 million people were found to have misused the medication. Individuals who have abused therapeutics or substances in the past have an inclination of becoming addicted to painkillers. However, it is not always the case that a person who is prescribed with any therapeutic will become an addict. This can happen when a therapeutic is used excessively above the recommended dosage and for much longer than needed.
There are many factors that are taken into account for addiction. Analgesics are usually advised to be used only when pain is experienced and should not be taken if there are no signs of pain. The painkiller dosage taken is dependent on the age of the individual, the intensity of pain experienced, other therapeutics used and other medical conditions.
People who are addicted to this therapeutic have stated that they usually crave the medication when it is not present. In the absence of the medication mood and behaviour changes will occur, causing individuals to become compulsive and agitated.
These behavioural changes may affect other areas of life such as occupational and social functioning. Those who decrease their doses or are in treatment for the addiction still experience cravings for the medication; but with dose reduction and therapy once can wean off dependence.
Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms
After suddenly discontinuing the use of a strong painkiller, one may experience withdrawal symptoms. Studies suggest that the most common symptoms consist of diaphoresis, depression, muscular pain, pupil dilation, anxiety, insomnia, agitation, nausea, and diarrhoea among other effects. Not everyone will encounter these effects, as it will depend on how long you have been taking the medication and the amount used. It is important to note that a person may not experience all the side effects at once. Some effects may appear around 5 days after stopping the use of the therapeutic. While other effects may be encountered after 6 to 12 hours (for short-acting medication) and 30 to 72 hours (for fast-acting medications).
When deciding to discontinue using the therapeutic, individuals should gradually decrease the doses taken per day and eventually they will reach their goal without experiencing any adverse effects. The treatments for withdrawal symptoms do not require inpatient management, and can be dealt with by the individual.
However, in serious cases that are uncontrollable, medical supervision may be required. The common therapy methods for this include behavioural and cognitive therapy as well as other medication that may assist in relieving the side effects. Although withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be troublesome, the can be treated effectively and are usually not life threatening.
Painkillers and Weight Loss
Eating is not just a simple habit or activity that people perform daily; there are a lot of internal factors that contribute to the act of ingestion. The central system and peripheral nervous system work in order to initiate the act of ingesting food.
Weight loss and weight gain are painkiller side effects that are common for some people and have been closely studied. While some medication causes an increase in appetite, there is evidence that a painkiller may decrease appetite in some cases, which is a contributing factor in weight loss. When you buy painkillers in the UK that are opioid receptor agonists, such as morphine, they increase the food intake.
However, chronic morphine treatment has reported to increase food consumption and body weight. And naltrexone and naloxone, which are opioid antagonists, decrease quantity of food intake. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that is responsible for eating behaviour.
Although not very clearly understood, studies have suggested that the interaction of the melanocortin (proteins that decrease appetite) and central opioid systems contribute to a decrease in food intake. More studies need to be conducted to find the relationship between the parts of the brain directly related to a decrease in food intake.
Read More Useful Painkiller Information
- Pregabalin 300 mg
- Tramadol 50 mg
- Codeine 30 mg
- Co-codamol 30/500 mg
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